Pauline works behind the bar at the Best Western Hotel, Calcot, near Reading.

Pauline clearly doesn’t like her job much.

When you approach the bar, Pauline doesn’t smile or make eye contact.

I know her name because Best Western make her wear a name badge.

If you attempt to make small talk with Pauline, she looks at you as if you have just crawled out of a recycling bin.

When you ask Pauline to pour you a drink – she pours you a drink.

When you ask Pauline if it would be OK to charge your drink to your room, she answers:

“yes – if you have your card or key” but she doesn’t look at you when she says it.

When you say “thank you”, Pauline says “you’re welcome” – but she doesn’t mean it.

Pauline is going through the motions.

When there are no customers at the bar she stares at the irritating game shows playing on the TV across the room.

I have no idea what is going on in Pauline’s life, nor do I care.

That’s not what I’m paying for.

I’m paying for her to play her part in a performance called “The Best Western Hotel, Calcot”, for which I bought a ticket.

That’s an entertainment in which I arrive at a hotel after 2 days of business travel, I walk to the bar to buy a diet coke before sitting down to catch up on emails and Pauline engages me in a bit of banter about my day, what I do for a living, the weather, the news – in fact, anything that takes my mind off work for a minute and makes me think that 4 days living in a suitcase isn’t so bad after all – and that Best Western may be a bit cheap and cheerful but at least they hire nice people.

Pauline is in the wrong job – she is more suited to:

  • traffic warden
  • HMRC or VAT offices
  • lighthouse keeper

The responsibility is with Best Western – they don’t train people to be happy when they are on stage.

It’s showbiz – and the show must go on.

Print this post and distribute to all your team.

No matter how much money you invest in marketing, equipment, training, fixtures and fittings – all it takes is one Pauline to bring it crashing down.

p.s. Pauline needs to be transferred on to the morning shift and asked to shadow Teresa – Teresa “gets it” and was a pleasure to chat with as I checked in for breakfast.


Published by

Chris Barrow

Chris Barrow has been active as a consultant, trainer and coach to the UK dental profession for over 20 years. As a writer, his blog enjoys a strong following and he is a regular contributor to the dental press. Naturally direct, assertive and determined, he has the ability to reach conclusions quickly, as well as the sharp reflexes and lightness of touch to innovate, change tack and push boundaries. In 2014 he appeared as a “castaway” in the first season of the popular reality TV show “The Island with Bear Grylls”. His main professional focus is as Coach Barrow, providing coaching and mentorship to independent dentistry.